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I'm Quick As A Rattler And Deadlier Than Any Snake - 91%

CHAIRTHROWER, August 7th, 2017
Written based on this version: 1987, Cassette, RCA

Although it's now Steve Grimmett's Grim Reaper, the abridged version of the NWOBHM "bigwigs" (dig those hairdos!) came out with a real beast of a release under RCA in 1987, the iconic Rock You To Hell, yet another riveting rock fest on par with See You And Hell and Fear No Evil. Thanks to its gratifying production quality and nine infernal tracks varying from arse kicking glee, such as the opening title track, "Night Of The Vampire", "Rock Me 'Till I Die" and "You'll Wish You Were Never Born" to shockingly fun placaters in the likes of "Lust For Freedom", "Waysted Love" and "I Want More", Rock You To Hell does just that and then some. Let's take a peek at the Droitwich/ Worcestershire natives' compelling and edacious pre-millenial swan song.

Through and through Rock You To Hell is imbued with a fluid crunchiness - even the lighter fare rocks with verve, easily topping out at the weigh station. With signature ardor and flair front man Steve Grimmett kicks things off with sardonic laughter and a heartfelt "Yeeeaaaaah! - Rock you to Hell!" before launching into:

"What's wrong with our society, is it fear or apathy,
Don't let other people run your life
So those with power don't use it, they simply abuse it,
And believe me that cuts me like a knife!"

The chorus rocks with a capital R, enhanced by its background "Rock You To Hell!" which engages the listener to a tee. A certain element of cheekiness and pomp is present as well, what with Grimmett's : "Did you always do what momma said/ Brush your teeth and go to bed/ 'Cause that way never worked for me/ Now they wanna censor music/ And if we don't fight we'll lose it/ It's only entertainment, can't they see?" This verse gets a chuckle out of me every time.

The production on Rock You To Hell is tremendous, far superior than that of See You In Hell while balancing the vocals, guitar, bass and drums equally - the bass lines and drumming is super prominent and definitely one of the reasons this release is so great, not withstanding Nick Bowcott's usual freedom inspiring riffing and epic soloing. Expect many well-placed natural harmonics throughout this affair as well as congenial lead fills peppering the songs beautifully.

"Night Of The Vampire" is bookended with a grisly growl/ hoof stomp and a liberating howl at the moon. Again, the chorus slays whilst its drum beat/ ride is (un) godly in its execution. Many of the riffs and solos instil a sense of freedom and abject resistance to authority, notably on the harder rocking tracks. On "Night Of The Vampire" for example, I can't help feel propelled along to Grimmett's dire warnings and Bowcott's stop & go overtures. I remember digging this album back in the day but I'm totally enthralled by it now decades later. Dig this chorus: "Night of the vampire/ He's only looking for your life!!/ Night of the vampire!".

Like I said, even the more toned down fare makes me want to pump my fist and gleefully shout along, oblivious to passers-by. "Lust For Freedom" is a kick ass anthem sure to impinge on your psyche while revelling in Bowcott's well-timed lead fills. "When Heaven Comes Down" is too good as well as a rip-roaring romp through chthonic fields of pure rock revelry. I can't get enough of : "'Cause that's when heaven comes down/ And all who stand in front of me will regret it!". Bowcott's medieval sounding licks and hard rockin' high wire leads make this one for the ages.

"Suck It And See" is a humble, swinging waltz-like number nicely splitting things up - consider it a brief reprieve before the quintessential "Rock Me 'Till I Die" storms through the gate with the full force of a battering ram. Bowcott's Megadeth-y (So Far So Good What!) shuffle and natural harmonics, along with Dave Wanklin's commanding bass line rip things up before an unexpected and unabated introductory solo peels the paint of the walls, soon giving way to another sky-high and edacious chorus:

"Rock me, rock you, It's all we have to do
Rock me until I die
Rock you, rock me, that's the way it has to be,
Rock me until I die!"

Some might call all this "rocking" about (i.e. all the Grim Reaper titles with "rock" in the title) overkill; personally I think it's great! The latter half of this track reverts back to some Dave Mustaine style riffing along with Mark Simon's hard-hitting drum fills before Bowcott explodes into a hallucinatory and highly festive, scalping lead break. Awesome stuff! And that's not all: up next is the killer "You'll Wish You Were Never Born", an arresting, razor sharp lambasting if there ever was one! (Canada's Striker does a killer cover of this on its 2009 Road Warrior EP). Even the pseudo ballad, "Waysted Love" does justice to the other tracks, easily supplanting Iron Maiden's similarly titled cut thanks to some swift gate-crushing solos and undeniable "feel good" chutzpah. For some reason this track always makes me think of Slade's Keep Your Hands Off My Power Supply, as it retains a compelling Spinal Tap vibe sure to put a smile on your face. Closer "I Want More" - imbued with female back-up vocals and kid-like glee - is quite apropos considering how much of a gripping romp & stomper this album is. Good times!

As if Rock You To Hell wasn't good enough, get a load of its beautiful, in-your-face cover art. I'm with the Grim Reaper on this one! If you've never given Rock You To Hell a spin, I strongly advise you do so!

Their Best - 87%

Troodon_metallicus, April 5th, 2015

Grim Reaper have never exactly been a well-known band in the NWOBHM movement, which is too bad, because this band wrote some great tracks. Rock You To Hell, the album I chose to review, may be the best proof for that.

Cool riffs are still present, if not even more so than before. Enjoyable solos are also to be found here; again, maybe even more so than on the previous albums. Rock Me ‘till I Die also happens to have an awesome intro that grabs you by the throat and drags you into one of the best tracks here, if not the best one. Also, I’d like to mention the first verse of this track:

It’s a feeling that I have for music,
It makes me wanna listen every day,
I hope that I will never ever lose it,
That would be a heavy price to pay

The whole track is about loving the music one listens, which IS somewhat rare, especially if done right, as is the case here.

The previous albums suffered somewhat due to repetition. Let’s be objective here, their choruses tended to be pretty repetitive, thus somewhat bringing the overall quality down. But it seems the band realized that has to be changed. Yeah, there is still some repetition here and there, but overall, it has been toned down.

Production-wise, this album is much, much better than Grim Reaper’s previous two albums. The overall sound is cleaner than on either of the previous albums. You see, on their earlier material, the sound was overall thinner, with bass being almost impossible to hear, although the riffs managed to make songs enjoyable. Here, all instruments can be heard.

I have to say Suck It And See feels pretty weak compared to the rest of the album. Grim Reaper has always been better when playing faster songs. OK, I understand not every song can be fast, but these musicians are not really fit for slower songs. Lust For Freedom gets a mention on its own, but for another reason altogether: it feels quite a bit like Loudness (and I recommend Loudness); it has a similar vibe and structure. Heh, Steve Grimett actually more or less manages to sound like Minoru Niihara in this song, how cool is that?

Put together everything I’ve mentioned and the result is an album I would undoubtedly recommend. It’s too bad the band split up not too long after recording this album, but at least they made sure to go out with a bang. If you ever get a chance to find this album (and this band, why not) anywhere, give it a listen, you will not regret it.

Packin' up and shippin' out - 75%

autothrall, March 29th, 2012

While I slightly favor Fear No Evil on a track for track basis, Grim Reaper's third album Rock You to Hell is probably the one I've gotten the most mileage out of. It's the sort of cheesy, reliable 80s metal that remains timeless despite any of its shortcomings, and I've been listening to it ever since a friend stole the cassette from a local department store by hiding it in his shoe and later traded it to me, presumably for something far better (or at least heavier). The details are a bit hazy, but then I'm nearing that midlife crisis age where I'm likely to forget far more important minutia. At any rate, Rock You to Hell is a better looking album than either of its predecessors, though certainly no more serious with its cartoon-like reaper and prostrate warrior mummy to whom something doubtlessly unfortunate is about to happen.

The production here is another step forward for the band in that you could run this up against any of the more mainstream hard rock/metal hybrids of its day like Quiet Riot or W.A.S.P. or whatnot and come up favorably, and it's that very margin of aesthetics that dominates a lot of the songwriting. Tracks like "Lust for Freedom" and the bluesy, swaggering and silly "Suck It and See" would've sat quite humbly on the popular hair rock radio of the period, but then a lot of tracks like "Rock You to Hell" and "When Heaven Comes Day" have more of a palpable early power metal intensity to them not unlike Fifth Angel or the Dio solo albums. The composition was characterized by predictable choruses, hooky and energetic guitars dowsed in structured leads and melodies that felt refined even beyond Fear No Evil, but I wouldn't say that the songs were necessarily 'better', just more of the same in a natural cycle of evolution that wouldn't even be shaken many years later when front man Steve Grimmett would appear in his infamous GARMIN GPS commercial.

Personally, I'd rank that man's individual performance through these tracks as the best of the band's albums to date, in that there's really no place you'd want to strangle him for seeming too awkward and shaky (like their first album). He implements a good balance of his mid-range and screaming and tends to vary up the individual lines enough that you can tell right off that he put a lot more work into them. But then, the tremendously trite lyrics are the sort that any teen could scribble into his notebook while dreams of KISS, Alice Cooper and sugarplums were dancing about his or her head, and in some cases like "Suck It And See" they are just downright embarrassing. Part of me likes to think of it as a soundtrack to some vampiric fantasy like the Once Bitten film with Jim Carrey, but the lyrics are, as usual quite bland, and just hearing Grimmett belt out the chorus causes fits of unintended laughter every time, without fail. Not that others like "Rock Me 'Till I Die" or "You'll Wish That You Were Never Born" are anything to write home about.

In the end, the fact that this was released through RCA, with a decent video rotation for the title track (one of the best on the album) via MTV's Headbanger's Ball, and still didn't cause much of a stir among the metal public who were justifiably more obsessed with Metallica and others of that caliber was a portent of this band's demise (compounded by the label dispute they later had to endure). Sure, there was and will always be a niche crowd for this stuff, and it's made a bit of a comeback since, but there was just nothing exemplary or awe inspiring here. Then again, if leopard print tank tops, bad mullets and big, balls out obvious choruses are your thing, then have fucking at this. It might not be revolutionary, but I enjoyed it more than albums like Ram It Down or the Quiet Riot s/t, and it surprisingly doesn't sound any more dated or passe than the day I first heard it. Fun, relatively consistent in quality, and harmless. I remain partial to Fear No Evil, but only by a slim margin.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

A farewell to an era - 88%

TitaniumNK, December 23rd, 2011

Grim Reaper's third and final album, ''Rock You to Hell'', is by far their best and most memorable release. It also has excellent production, which flawed their previous albums and killer performances by vocalist Steve Grimmett and guitarist Nick Bowcott. This is a damn fine effort to conclude their opus and one period in metal's history. Here we go...

Steve Grimmett just owns everything in sight with his singing. He is such a talented and gifted vocalist that it almost hurts while you're listening to pieces like ''Rock You to Hell'', ''When Heaven Comes Down'', or ''Rock Me 'Till I Die'', it's so bloody good. It's a shame he didn’t get an opportunity to shine in some greater band (let's face it, Grim Reaper were very good, but never among the best metal bands), he would definitely cement his status as one of the best heavy metal vocalists. Nowadays, he's almost anonymous and only diehard metalheads know who Steve Grimmett is. Same has to be said for Nick Bowcott, an incredibly underrated guitar player, whose solos and riffs are astounding. One will notice, though, that Reaper's music is sometimes repetitive; the riffs and solos are often very similar and is probably the only reason why this band didn't become one of the heavy metal legends.

Back to the album – the title track, ''Night of the Vampire'', ''Lust for Freedom'', ''Rock Me 'Till I Die'', and ''Waysted Love'' are instant winners. All of them are typical '80s anthems with incredibly catchy main riffs and choruses. The title track is also the first Grim Reaper song that contains socially conscious lyrics (you’d never tell it by the title) and it actually works. Worth mentioning are ''When Heaven Comes Down'' and ''I Want More'' as typical solid Grim Reaper material; they aren't struck of genius, but they are very good, keeping on rolling and contributing a lot to the overall quality of this album.

On the other hand, ''Suck It and See'' and ''You'll Wish That You Were Never Born'' drag down this album. Remember what I said about Reaper's repetitive and unoriginal songs? Well, here they are. Actually, neither of these songs are a total throwaway crap as they have their moments and you might like them. Judge them for yourself.

''Rock You to Hell'' stands proudly as Grim Reaper's finest moment and the pure amount of fun that this record brings is a sufficient reason to get this album. Time just flies with Grimmett and company, and you surely will be satisfied after listening to this. It's a shame that Grim Reaper split up just one year after this album came out, since it seems to me that their music was getting better and better and who knows, they could've transformed into something very big and very influential. I also think that NWOBHM left us for good along with Reaper. Their music remains behind them to wave the NWOBHM banner with the genuine passion and power of that movement that changed the whole history of metal. Glory and honour to Grim Reaper!

The Zenith of the Reaper. - 89%

hells_unicorn, February 12th, 2007

The third and final album installment of Grim Reapers short lived career proves to be the most musically interesting, as well as the most neglected of the bunch. This stuff went out of print for quite a while in the early 90s and then new interest in the late 90s caused the first two to finally be re-released on one CD, (which I naturally ended up getting because at the time I was hungry for something different from the garbage being played ad nauseum on the radio) but for some reason this one was put off a bit longer. But thankfully Spitfire records, the same label that resurrected Yngwie’s mid-90s material and has carrier Dio since 200, re-released it. I tip my hat to them both for recognizing good music and for taking some financial risks to get this stuff mass communicated to a new generation.

Anyhow, in addition to a much improved production quality from the last 2 albums, we also get a much more varied and aggressive set of songs on here. It reminds me a bit of a slightly stripped down version of early 80s Judas Priest, particularly on fast songs such as “Rock me till I die”, “When heaven comes down” and “I want more”. Others such as “Night of the Vampire”, “Lust for Freedom” and “You’ll wish that you were never born” are basically better produced and tighter versions of the same spooky yet catchy riff bangers that were heard on “Fear No Evil”. The title track, in addition to being in a slightly similar vain as the ones of the previous albums, has some socially conscious lyrics regarding the rise of Tipper Gorian Fascism, a thankfully short lived fad amongst Democrat politicians trying to out-Conservative the religious right while simultaneously pissing all over Free Speech. The short and dirty sleaze song “Suck it and See”, which is the weakest track on here, was no doubt an act of defiance by the band as the result of the turbulent nature of politics at the time.

To fans of the NWOBHM and Judas Priest, if you are in the market for classic stuff, this is a great addition to any collection. You get all the great hooks and riffs from the last two albums with stronger and less repetitive choruses and the best production job ever. I personally will be thanking God for the next few decades for Spitfire’s invaluable efforts at keeping the older sound of heavy metal alive and strong, they helped pull a once misguided Metallica worshipper (me) away from the dark side of the force.

Rock you to hell! - 87%

CrystalMountain, January 29th, 2005

Grim Reaper should need no introduction by now. This album was probably their most commercially succesful album. It's got a definite "hair metal" vibe to it, but still has a hard edge. Steve Grimmet sounds amazing, and hasn't lost anything since the first album. Nick Bowcott shreds out some of his most impressive work by far. The production on the album is probably the best of the GR albums, but it's still nothing impressive.

The album starts out with the title track, which is absolutely the pinnacle of 80's heavy metal. As soon as Steve's glass shattering scream rips out of your stereo speakers you are hooked, I can't think of many songs I've listened to more than this one. Catchy verses, and isanely infectious chorus, great solo. Some really cheesey 80's lyrics are delivered with great power by Steve, listen to the seriousness in hs voice as he delivers this line "Did you always do what mama said, brush your teeth and go to bed...Cause that way...Never worked for meeeeeeee!" Awesome stuff!

"Night of the Vampire" is more like old school Grim Reaper, with quasi-horror lyrics and mid-paced speed metal rythym. Great chorus and a some nice leadwork. "Lust For Freedom" is kinda slow for a GR song, and comes off sounding more like Dokken or something, it's a pretty good song though and nice to hear something different from the guys. "Heaven Comes Down" picks the album back up to typical Reaper pace, nice flowing verses and a nce chorus. Great solo to be found too.

"Suck it and See" despite having some really, really ridiculous lyrics is pretty decent. It has a cool vibe to it, it's almost bluesy somehow. "Rock Me Till I Die" is exactly what you might expect it to be, a fast paced rocker. Some pretty amazing lead-work all through-out the song The song is like anthem for us metal heads and it doesn't dissapoint, Steve's voice is amazing on this one "Rock me untill I dieeeeeeeeEEEEEE!" Probably the best solo on the album. "You'll Wish You Were Never Born" has never grabbed me, nothing special about it.

"Waysted Love" has a Dokken/Motley Crue vibe to it, but it manages to be extremely catchy and kick lots of ass. Steve sounds great here, especially in the pre-chours and chorus. "I Want More" closes the album off nicely, and is more old school Reaper. Fast and catchy, Steve stays mostly in the high end through-out this song, which is pretty cool.

In closing, it's really hard to rate the Grim Reaper albums. I would say they are all pretty much equal. This album is, like I said before, a bit more commercial sounding than the previous 2, but I would rank it right up there with them.

AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE - 82%

ironasinmaiden, April 17th, 2003

What's this? What's this? A fist pumping, head banging, anthemic slab of raging fucking heavy metal from Grim Reaper? Surprised? I think not! So point your finger at the nearest heathen and banish him to the underworld, it's metal time.

These guys embody everything that kicks ass about 80s metal. It's catchy, flamboyant, fun, and most of all MELODIC. Steve Grimett has his Dio impression down pat. Night of the Vampire, When Heaven Comes Down, and Rock Me Till I Die are exquisite hard rocking arena metal anthems. I had nearly every word memorized after a few listens... I may even venture to say this tops Grim Reaper's killer debut.

Unfortunately, like "see you in hell", there are duds a plenty, most noteably Suck it and You'll See (the worst attempt at clever sexual innuendo since the stroke). If you dig rabble rousing, beer slamming old school heavy metal, Grim Reaper is your friend

Total 80s metal - 80%

UltraBoris, November 27th, 2002

This is Grim Reaper's flashiest, most Motley-Crue sounding album, and also it is their best. The songwriting is the catchiest and the riff work the most memorable out of all three. The music is completely 80-s sounding. If you've heard the title track ("heh, heh, that guy's face is fat... like he's had too many urinal mints!") then you know pretty much what the rest of the album is like.

If not... well, the title track is just classic sounding "get up and headbang and play air guitar" type metal - nothing progressive or overtly Satanic or thrashy or anything, but some great guitar work. The rest... "Night of the Vampire" is also very nice, as is "Lust for Freedom" with some cool speedish riffs under the chorus. "When Heaven Comes Down" has some great melody to it... "Suck it and See" is the obligatory stupidly sexual song, kinda boring. "Rock Me 'til I die" is a bit better, as is "You'll Wish you were Never Born" but these three songs are the weak point of the album.

"Waysted Love" and "I Want More" close out in spectacular fashion - both are quite nice speed metal songs, with some of the best guitar work by Nick Bowcott on the entire album. A great way to close it. So, overall, if you like 80s metal, then forget what Beavis and Butthead have to say, these guys fucking rule!